Cairo Santos

NFC Notes: Packers, Vikings, Bucs, Cardinals

Davante Adams remarkably scored two touchdowns for the Packers just 10 days after taking a violent hit from Bears linebacker Danny Trevathan, and it’s clear that Adams is in line to become Green Bay’s No. 1 wideout at some point, opines Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com. Of course, that would first entail the Packers extending the 24-year-old Adams, who is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent next spring. While Green Bay could hypothetically deploy the franchise tag on Adams, the club is unlikely to invest $16MM+ on a single pass-catcher given the investment it already has is Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb. A new deal for Adams, who managed 997 yards and 12 touchdowns a season ago, could potentially top $10MM annually.

Here’s more from the NFC:

  • The Vikings‘ head trainer says quarterback Sam Bradford is not dealing with a new injury to his knee, but does have “wear and tear” on his left knee, which has undergone two ACL operations, as Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press writes. Bradford returned Monday night following a three-week absence, but couldn’t make it through the first half before experiencing an issue with his knee. Minnesota didn’t offer any timeline on Bradford’s return, meaning Case Keenum (and possibly the returning Teddy Bridgewater) will be under center for the time being.
  • Stevan Ridley, who spent four days on the Vikings‘ roster last week, is staying in the Minneapolis area as there is a possibility he’ll be re-signed to the club’s active roster, Tomasson reports in a separate piece. The Vikings are currently carrying only Latavius Murray and Jerick McKinnon at running back, although fullback C.J. Ham can also handle tailback duties. Ridley, 28, handled only three carries during the 2016 campaign.
  • The Buccaneers selected Patrick Murray as their new kicker on Monday, but the club reportedly prefers former Chief Cairo Santos among the available free agents, according to Roy Cummings of FanRag Sports (Twitter link). Santos was in Tampa Bay yesterday to take a physical, but he’s roughly two weeks away from full health. The Buccaneers, then, could theoretically give Murray something of a two-week tryout before circling back to Santos if Murray fails. Murray, Santos, Andrew Franks, Josh Lambo, and Mike Nugent were all in consideration to replace the struggling Nick Folk as Tampa’s kicker.
  • Before signing Justin Drescher to replace the injured Aaron Brewer, the Cardinals worked out four other long snappers, tweets veteran NFL reporter Howard Balzer. Andrew East, Colin Holba, Jeff Overbaugh, and Drew Williams all auditioned for Arizona before the Cardinals went with Drescher. General manager Steve Keim & Co. appear to have gone with experience, as Drescher was the only member of the group who had appeared in an NFL game. Drescher, 29, played in 16 games per season for the Saints from 2011-16.

Buccaneers To Meet With K Cairo Santos

The Buccaneers plan to meet with free agent kicker Cairo Santos and give him a physical, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Santos, whom the Chiefs waived with an injury designation at the end of last month, is roughly two weeks away from full health, per Schefter.Cairo Santos (Vertical)

Tampa Bay is unsurprisingly auditioned kickers following incumbent Nick Folk‘s dreadful performance against the Patriots on Thursday night. Folk missed three field goals in a game the Buccaneers ultimately lost by five points, so Tampa Bay will take a look at Andrew Franks, Josh Lambo, and Mike Nugent on Monday.

Santos, 25, is arguably a better kicker than any of those three options, as he holds the highest career conversion rate at 84.8%. Last season, Santos posted the best season of his three-plus year NFL tenure, as he made 88.6% of his field goals, including two from 50+ yards. He did miss three extra point attempts, however.

It’s not out of the question that the Buccaneers stick with Folk for the time being, and that could be especially true if they’re specifically eyeing Santos. Tampa Bay could wait for Santos to get healthy, and then reevaluate Folk’s performance and its kicking situation as a whole.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Chiefs Waive Cairo Santos

Cairo Santos sustained a groin injury during his last warmup kick against the Chargers this weekend. It may well end up being his final kick as a Chief.

The Chiefs waived Santos with an injury designation on Saturday, the team announced. He is expected to be healthy later this season, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter), so the fourth-year kicker will now be able to land with another team. The Chiefs placed Santos on IR earlier this week, clearing the way for their claim of rookie Harrison Butker off the Panthers’ practice squad.

Santos served as Kansas City’s kicker since the start of the 2014 season, when he beat out Ryan Succop in training camp. A Brazil native, Santos made a career-best 88 percent of his kicks last season (31 of 35) and has kicked in every game since the start of the ’14 campaign.

Butker did not beat out Graham Gano for Carolina’s kicking job out of camp, but the Panthers used a seventh-round pick on the Georgia Tech product. It looks like the Chiefs will be turning to Butker for the time being.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Notes: Browns, Santos, Bills, Ravens

Barely a month after Danny Shelton sustained a knee injury, the Browns defensive tackle suffered a calf malady during practice Wednesday. The team acknowledged it could be serious, per Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com (on Twitter), but also maintains hope the setback could also be minor. Hue Jackson referred to the occurrence as “unfortunate.” This came on a non-contact play, and Cabot notes (via Twitter) Shelton already underwent an MRI. Shelton encountered knee trouble during training camp but returned in time for the regular season. The 2015 first-round pick became a breakout player for the Browns last season. The former Washington defensive tackle has not missed a game during his NFL career. Rookie third-rounder Larry Ogunjobi would be in line to see more time if Shelton ended up missing action.

Here’s the latest from the AFC, continuing with some better news out of northeast Ohio.

  • Myles Garrett returned to Browns practice Thursday, working out with the team for the first time since suffering a high ankle sprain just before the season’s outset. Jackson said on Wednesday the No. 1 overall pick might not see a full starter’s workload even if he is ready to play Sunday. The Browns are exercising caution with their top offseason investment, a player who’s struggled with ankle trouble since his junior year at Texas A&M. “He’s a huge piece of our organization, our future, so we want to be cautious but smart as we go through it,” the second-year coach said, via Pat McManamon of ESPN.com.
  • The Chiefs will consider making Cairo Santos one of their IR-boomerang players, Andy Reid said, via Terez Paylor of the Kansas City Star (on Twitter). Santos ventured to IR earlier this week after injuring his right groin during warmups Sunday in Los Angeles. Kansas City signed rookie Harrison Butker off the Panthers’ practice squad. A Santos re-emergence could get tricky, however. The Chiefs are likely planning to bring slot corner Steven Nelson off IR by Week 9, and teams can only pull two players off the injury list in a season. So it’s not certain Santos will get to continue kicking until next season.
  • Bills defensive end Shaq Lawson also ran into trouble during practice this week, suffering a groin injury Thursday, Mike Rodak of ESPN.com reports. A starter after missing most of his rookie season due to injury, Lawson has two sacks thus far. The recently signed Ryan Davis may be Buffalo’s top option if Lawson can’t play in Week 4.
  • Brent Urban‘s season-ending Lisfranc injury could conclude his time with the Ravens, with Jeff Zreibec of the Baltimore Sun writing the team will want to see if recent third-round picks Chris Wormley and Bronson Kaufusi are going to be worthy contributors. (Neither has played an NFL down.) However, Zreibec also notes Urban’s injury history — by the end of this season the former fourth-round pick will have played just 25 of 64 possible regular-season games with the Ravens — could make him a candidate to stay and rebuild his free agent stock. Urban started all three Ravens games this season, the first three starts of his career.

Chiefs Place K Cairo Santos On IR

The Chiefs announced that they have placed kicker Cairo Santos on IR. To take his place, the team has signed kicker Harrison Butker off of the Panthers’ practice squad. Cairo Santos (vertical)

The reason for Santos’ placement on IR is not immediately clear. He struggled with a groin pull in the summer, so it’s possible that he reaggravated that injury.

The ball gets heavier (when it rains) and I just felt sore,” Santos said in early September (via Terez A. Paylor of the Kansas City Star). “The next time I kicked, it just got worse and worse until I felt a pop on one of practice kicks. That’s when I knew something was wrong with it.”

Santos, 26 in November, was perfect through three games. He nailed all three of his field goal tries and made 100% of his extra point attempts.

Earlier this year, the Panthers were receiving calls of trade interest in kicker Graham Gano, leading to speculation that they could move him for a draft pick and stick with Butker. That wasn’t the case as the Panthers cut Butker on Sept. 13, though they did re-sign him to the taxi squad. He’ll now get his opportunity to shine in KC.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Chiefs Auditioning Garrett Hartley

There will be more than 70 players attending the Chiefs’ rookie camp, including several intriguing veterans. According to Terez A. Paylor of The Kansas City Star (via Twitter), the organization will be auditioning kicker Garrett Hartley and cornerback Stanley Jean-Baptiste.

Garrett Hartley (Vertical)Hartley is presumably being brought in to provide some competition for incumbent Cairo Santos. The free agent kicker hasn’t appeared in an NFL contest since 2014, when he played in a pair of games for the Browns. The 30-year-old was a mainstay on the Saints special teams unit from 2010 through 2013. His best season came in 2012, when he converted 81.8-percent of his field goal attempts and 100-percent of his extra point attempts.

While the Chiefs still haven’t committed to Santos longterm, it’s probably a long shot that the 25-year-old will end up losing his gig. The former Tulane product has served as Kansas City’s kicker for the past three seasons, and he had his best campaign in 2016. Santos finished the year having converted 88.6-percent of his field goals and 92-percent of his extra point attempts.

The Saints were hoping that Jean-Baptiste would be a consistent presence in their secondary when they selected him in the second round of the 2014 draft. However, the cornerback has had difficulty finding a role in the NFL, as he’s only appeared in four games over three seasons. If he does catch on with the Chiefs, he’ll be competing with a number of cornerbacks (including Phillip Gaines, Kenneth Acker, D.J. White, Terrance Mitchell, and Vernon Harris) for a top reserve role.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Minor NFL Transactions: 4/17/17

The latest minor moves…

  • Raiders defensive end Denico Autry has signed his RFA tender, reports ESPN’s Adam Caplan (Twitter link). The Raiders gave the 2014 undrafted free agent an original-round tender, leading to speculation that he could draw interest from elsewhere. Instead, Autry will return to the Raiders on the heels of back-to-back three-sack seasons. ERFAs Seth Roberts (WR) and Denver Kirkland (G) are also back in the fold, according to Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review-Journal (on Twitter).
  • The Seahawks have re-signed linebacker Kache Palacio, writes Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times. Palacio, a former fullback who went undrafted out of Washington State last year, spent most of 2016 on Seattle’s practice squad.
  • Lions ERFAs Brandon Copeland (DE), Kerry Hyder (DT) and T.J. Jones (WR) have signed their tenders, tweets Birkett. Dolphins ERFAs Mike Hull (LB) and Anthony Steen (C) did the same earlier Monday, per Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald (Twitter link).

Earlier updates:

  • The Panthers have re-upped restricted free agent guard Andrew Norwell and a pair of exclusive rights free agents – center Tyler Larsen and punter Michael Palardy – writes Bryan Strickland of their website. Carolina used a second-round tender on Norwell, who will earn $2.746MM in 2017. Norwell combined for 29 starts over the previous two seasons and ranked 11th in performance among Pro Football Focus’ 72 qualified guards last year.
  • Steelers RFA cornerback Ross Cockrell has inked his original-round tender, reports ESPN’s Adam Schefter (Twitter link). Cockrell went in the fourth round of the 2014 draft, so the Steelers would have been entitled to a fourth-rounder had Cockrell signed elsewhere and they elected against matching the offer. The 25-year-old caught on with the Steelers in 2015 and has since totaled 31 appearances, 23 starts and two interceptions. Cockrell started in every Steelers game last year, and his performance ranked an improve 28th among 111 qualified corners at PFF.
  • Chiefs RFA kicker Cairo Santos has signed his tender, per Schefter (on Twitter). Santos, undrafted in 2014, received a low tender; as such, Kansas City wouldn’t have been entitled to compensation had he gone elsewhere. The three-year veteran has connected on 84.3 percent of field goal attempts, including 88.6 percent last season (good for fifth in the league).
  • Lions offensive tackle Cornelius Lucas has signed his RFA tender, tweets Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. The Lions assigned Lucas an original-rounder tender last month, so they wouldn’t have gotten a pick had the 2014 undrafted free agent signed elsewhere and they chose not to match. Lucas is now slated to make $1.797MM this year in Detroit, where he has started in six of 35 career appearances.
  • The Buccaneers have re-signed quarterback Ryan Griffin, cornerback Jude Adjei-Barimah, tight end Cameron Brate, linebacker Adarius Glanton, and wide receivers Adam Humphries and Freddie Martino, per Scott Smith of the team’s website. As a restricted free agent, Griffin is the only one of the bunch who could have potentially gone elsewhere (the rest were exclusive rights free agents). The Bucs tendered the 2013 undrafted free agent at an original-round level last month, and he’ll now try to win the No. 2 role behind Jameis Winston. Tampa Bay’s previous second-stringer, Mike Glennon, is now the Bears’ starter.
  • RFA defensive back Marcus Burley and ERFA running back George Atkinson III are returning to the Browns, per a team announcement. Burley, undrafted in 2013, received an original-round tender. The former Seahawk is coming off his first year in Cleveland, where he appeared in 12 games and played just under 40 percent of the Browns’ special teams snaps.
  • Fullback Tommy Bohanon and receiver Larry Pinkard have signed with the Jaguars, tweets the team’s account. Bohanon is the only with NFL experience, having logged 36 appearances and 14 starts as a Jet from 2013-15.
  • Speaking of the Jets, they have re-signed linebacker Julian Stanford (via Randy Lange of the team’s site). The Jets could Stanford on Friday, but both sides knew that was only a procedural move. Last season was the first as a Jet for the 26-year-old Stanford, who appeared in nine games (two starts) and played about a quarter of their defensive snaps and a third of their special teams snaps.

RFA/ERFA Tender Decisions: 3/8/17

Unrestricted free agent news will obviously dominate the day, but several clubs also had to make decisions on whether to offer tenders to restricted and exclusive rights free agents. All RFA tenders listed are original round/right of first refusal (worth $1.797MM), and all links go to Twitter:

RFAs:

Tendered:

Non-Tendered: 

ERFAs:

Tendered: